There was very little vache action during last night’s stage, and – sadly – the crash action dominated once more. As the riders descended the Col du Pas de Peyrol a number of them came off their bikes. Vinokourov ended up some distance from the road in the trees and Zabriskie and Van den Broeck were amongst the riders on the road. All three sustained injuries that took them out of the race.
The focus should have been on the battle for the yellow jersey with Thomas Veau-ckler in a GC-changing breakaway, but when a TV car swerved into the group, taking out Flecha and sending Hoogerland flying into a barbed wire fence, it became difficult to concentrate on the competition. Hoogerland demonstrated true grit by changing into a non-shredded pair of shorts and carrying on, taking back the polka dot jersey and being awarded “most combative” rider of the day. I’m sure none of the riders anticipate that their daily combat might include cars and motorbikes. You can watch the presentation here (warning: it will probably make you cry). Veau-ckler has managed to wrest the yellow from the God of Thunder, who is now in 24th place overall. Perhaps there is some sort of quantity theory of Godness in the peloton and he had to give up some of his to Hoogerland. Luis Leon Sanchez was first across the line, and is now in second place overall. Philippe Gilbert keeps the green jersey and Cowbell is 2′ 26″ behind the new leader and third overall.
Now to our meagre cow news.
Cowrespondent Rupert Guinness, who covers the action of the stage in a far more articulate way here, reported spotting some cows when he went out for a run, but he has to remember to carry his camera at. All. Times. Keys, wallet and passport are optional, but a true cow-nnoissuer always knows where the camera is.
The Tour isn’t going to Bordeaux this year, but cowrespondent Tony – who is so dedicated to les vaches that he has one as his avatar – found these on a visit last July and I think they are perfect for brightening up a very downbeat round-up. Thanks, Tony!
Today is a rest day. The competitors will probably still put a few kilometres into their legs, so perhaps you should follow their lead. Don’t stay up until 2.00am, but maybe pop on your copy of Hell on Wheels or A Sunday in Hell just to keep you fresh. We’re almost at the Pyrenees – if you want to go local with your wine matches while the Pyrenean stages are on, get your order in to DiscoverVin so you’ll have time to chill down the rosé.